NFL Nation: 2014 NFL Spring Meetings

NFL owners meetings typically feature more talk than action, but we're guaranteed of at least one bit of news out of Tuesday's one-day spring gathering in Atlanta. The site of Super Bowl LII, to be played in February 2018, will be awarded following presentations from the three finalists: New Orleans, Minnesota and Indianapolis.

Conventional wisdom makes New Orleans the heavy favorite; organizers plan to tie the game to the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. Minnesota is making its first presentation since breaking ground on a new stadium that will open in 2016. If it falls short Tuesday, it should be the favorite for Super Bowl LIII, which would be awarded next year.

The vote is tentatively scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Here's a quick look at some of the other issues owners will discuss before adjourning Tuesday afternoon:
  • Expanded postseason: We looked at the issue in detail Monday. League executives will make a presentation on the possibilities, followed by discussion. Chances are owners will leave these meetings with a good idea of how they want to structure a 14-team playoff field, but it's not clear if a formal vote will be taken. An executive of the NFL Players Association said in March that the issue must be collectively bargained, and the league said at the time it would share a proposal when it has one. The change isn't likely to be implemented until 2015, so there is plenty of time to hash out the details.
  • Extra points: Owners have already approved a two-week preseason experiment to move extra points back to the 15-yard line following a season where only five extra points were missed. According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, owners will discuss a longer-term plan in Atlanta. As we noted earlier this offseason, moving back extra points to the 15- or even 20-yard line isn't likely to make any impact on coaching decisions.
  • HGH testing: The league wants to implement HGH tests on players but its discussions with the NFLPA have stalled out over the issue of appeals. The NFLPA is insisting on an appeals process that is independent of commissioner Roger Goodell and the league office. Owners should get an update Tuesday.
  • Miami stadium renovations: Owners will receive a report on a new, private financing plan to upgrade Sun Life Stadium. If it is secured and approved, Miami would re-enter the discussion as a future Super Bowl site.
ATLANTA -- Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday spoiled fans during their time together with the Indianapolis Colts. The quarterback-center duo started 170 games together and helped lead the Colts to two Super Bowl appearances.

Quarterback Andrew Luck came on board in 2012 and fans expected the same out of him and center Samson Satele.

Satele started every game at center he played, but he struggled at the position and was released in March.

One of the Colts' favorite phrases is "next man up." The next man up who will attempt to start a strong bond with Luck the same way Manning and Saturday had it is unproven second-year player Khaled Holmes.

Holmes, the team's fourth-round draft pick in 2013, will be the Colts' starting center next season, barring a collapse.

"The reason why Peyton and I had the rapport we did was because we played so many games together," Saturday at the NFL owners meetings. "If you think about it, you're starting 16 games a year, not including the playoffs, for how many years in a row. It was a rarity that one of us was not at a practice or at a game.

"You begin to build relationship because you're always there together. That is something that takes time. It's not going to happen overnight."

Saturday didn't go into much detail about Holmes because, like most people outside of the organization, Holmes is still a mystery because of his lack of playing time last season. Holmes played only 12 snaps as a rookie.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has been remained firm in his commitment to Holmes, with the reminder that he started 37 games at USC and not at "‘Whatsa Matta U.'"

Luck and Holmes will spend as much time as possible together in the offseason getting reps together so that they'll be ready for the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

"You would definitely like to get consistency from a quarterback-center perspective, but at the end of the day, that has to form itself, you can't manufacture that," Saturday said. "If it's Holmes and he's in there this year, you'll see that chemistry begin to bond and those guys will get close and it'll continue to ramp up."
ATLANTA -- While Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank prepared for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $1.2 billion stadium on Monday, another NFL owner praised Blank's vision in bringing a new sports and entertainment venue to Atlanta.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can appreciate Blank's effort, considering he opened a first-class stadium of his own back on May 2009. Jones broke ground on "Jerry's World'' in September 2005.

"Having, relatively speaking, just gone through the process of building a new stadium, although it has been five years since we've opened, but I know the kind of risk-taking that's involved by the ownership to do it right and get a new stadium,'' Jones said upon arriving for Tuesday's spring meetings. "The Falcons and Arthur Blank are doing it right. Rich McKay, they've looked under every stone to see the best way to have the Falcons and have the fans of the Atlanta Falcons to have a state-of-the-art stadium.

"I'm particularly impressed -- I'm on the board of the National Collegiate Hall of Fame -- and I know that's going to be almost literally joining the new stadium. And you put that with the Martin Luther King museum and the Coca-Cola museum and all the great tradition of the South and what Atlanta means. ... You put that all together and it's going to be quite a statement not only for sports, but for the NFL.''

The new stadium will open in 2017 and Blank said his new Major League Soccer team will be the first to play there. The Falcons will start the '17 season inside the new stadium.

"So to me, what Arthur Blank has done here is bigger than the stadium,'' Jones continued. "It's big for Georgia. It's big for Atlanta. And it will inspire teams that play in that and the events that are in it for a long time.''
ATLANTA -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta for the NFL spring meetings at some point on Monday to prepare to give his five-minute pitch for the city's bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.

That will be the next step for Irsay as he continues to work his way back from a stint in a rehabilitation facility following his arrest in March.

Carlie Irsay-Gordon, who had the final say on team matters while her father was at the facility, spoke publicly for the first time as she entered a media session Monday.

"All we can really say is, he's really focused and committed to get his health back in order and he's day by day getting plugged in more and more," Irsay-Gordon said. "We're looking forward to that, too."

Irsay was arrested March 17 for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Irsay has been out of the rehabilitation facility for at least a couple of weeks now. He's back to interacting on Twitter and he was in the team's war room during the draft.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to discipline Irsay for his arrest because the owner hasn't been charged. The hold up in getting Irsay's blood work completed is because of a backlog of toxicology reports at an Indiana lab, according to the Indianapolis Star.


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